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Wood vs Fiberglass Windows

In the battle between wood vs. fiberglass windows, here are four key places to compare and contrast these very different window frames - cost and pricing, style and aesthetics, strength and durability, as well as energy efficiency.

Costs & Pricing

Wood windows are by far the most expensive windows, perhaps 25% to 30% less than fiberglass for comparable size, upgrades, glass etc. A middle of the road wood clad window with professional installation will run around $800 per opening. A middle of the road fiberglass window with professional installation will run around $650 per opening. This is a pretty considerable difference for 15 to 20 windows.

Style & Aesthetic

Wood windows are the nicest looking windows on the market, they blow everything away in terms of style and aesthetics. Top manufacturers include Andersen, Marvin and Kolbe. Fiberglass is probably right behind them in terms of how they look - top companies include Marvin and Pella. Of course, some wood windows aren't great looking and some fiberglass windows leave something to be desired in terms of aesthetics. Overall, however, these two materials usually top the list for style and aesthetics with wood clad leading the way.

Strength & Durability

Fiberglass windows win out in the battle for strength and durability. Wood clad windows are unable to match fiberglass in terms of the corner welds and the sashes won't be as strong as fiberglass. However, many wood clad windows use a fiberglass or vinyl exterior and/or a reinforced sash, which adds to the strength of the wood window.

Energy Efficiency

The best fiberglass windows will usally be more energy efficient than its wood clad equivalent - not necessarily by a ton, but over time the energy efficiency of the fiberglass window will become greater. This holds true for most price point comparisons.

Bottom Line

Top wood windows are an attractive and expensive window option. Fiberglass is a less attractive and less expensive option, but probably ranks second in terms of both looks and costs amongst all home window frames. Either option is very nice and probably comes down to the look of the individual windows that you are comparing.

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